April 25, 2011
You know, developers aren't the only ones who like to use compilers...also those of us who want to compile source code would like them.
Macs never really "came" with the development toolkit (things like autoconf, make, gcc, etc), but adding it used to be really easy. You would stick the OSX install disk in the machine, and browse to the Xcode directory, and double click the .pkg file. If you didn't have the CD with you wherever you were, you just went to the Apple Developer Site and downloaded a 2+GB dmg file. That's all in the past, sadly.
I found out today that it's a lot harder to download the Xcode software (which has not only Apple's proprietary software libraries, but replaces gcc with their version of LLVM (I can only assume that it's derivative from the open-source LLVM project)) than it used to be.
If you go to the Xcode page, you'll see a link that says "Download Xcode", but what they really mean is, "Download Xcode (after you pay us $5 for the software, or pay us $99 a year to be an OSX or iOS developer)". Of course, the only version that they offer on that site is Xcode 4. What they do not tell you is that Xcode 3.2 is still available, but you can't just go download it.
No, you have to register as an Apple Developer to do that. Because we wouldn't want those precious compilers just being installed willy-nilly, right? Right.
Thanks to @lusis on twitter for sending me the following link...it's completely obvious, and I don't know how I missed it: https://connect.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MemberSite.woa/wa/getSoftware?bundleID=20792. Go there, and register as a Free (I think they actually call it "undecided") developer, and you can then have the privilege to download the 4.1GB tarball that contains the software you need to actually compile programs on your computer.
I don't think I need to tell you that this is a huge pain in the ass. What I'm really surprised about is that they're trying so hard to charge for it, though. Xcode should absolutely be available through the App store, but making people pay to download it? That's ridiculous. Make people pay for the IDE. Make them pay for the the debugger. But don't make them pay for the stupid compiler.
Of course, at this point it becomes easier to find a way around the onerous limitations artificially placed on the system. I'd suggest installing a compiler through an alternate method, but the two biggest alternative software repositories for OSX (Fink and MacPorts) both require the developer tools already be installed!
Honestly, I never thought that I'd be tempted to pirate a free compiler.
This goes a long way to re-enforce my belief that OSX is a fine operating system as long as you don't treat it like Unix.
What are your thoughts on this? Is there any justifiable excuse for Apple's behavior? I'm interested in hearing it, if there is.